How to register a death properly

Losing someone is a very traumatic experience and you will not only be trying to cope with your loss and the start of the grieving process, but there are other practical things you need to contend with like registering the death of your loved one and arranging their funeral.

There are different procedures to follow depending on where the death occurred:

If your loved one died during a stay in hospital or in their residential nursing home then you will be informed by the nursing staff and asked to make arrangements for funeral directors to collect their body. If the person died at home then their GP needs to attend or if the person didn’t have their own doctor then an ambulance should attend and the police may also attend if the death is sudden.

If the death is expected then the doctor should be able to provide a certificate stating the cause of death but if the cause is not known, then a coroner needs to be informed. The coroner will perform a post-mortem to establish how the person died.

If your loved one dies abroad then you will need to follow the law for registering their death in the country where they died. You also need to report the event to the British Consulate so that the death can be registered back in the UK. If your loved one had travel insurance then the cost of transporting their body back to the UK will usually be covered. On return to the UK, the death needs to be reported at the register office in their home county or where the funeral will occur.

Registering a death is a mandatory formal procedure that must take place within five days or up to fourteen days if a medical certificate is produced and the registrar is informed. If any investigation needs to take place by the coroner then you can’t register the death until the investigations are concluded. You can find contact details of register offices online or in the telephone directory.

If you fail to report the death of your loved one then you are committing a criminal offence and could face prosecution.

Who should register the death?
– A relative or any other person present when the person died.
– A relative who cared for the person through their last illness.
– A relative living in the same district where the death occurred.
– The owner of the building where the person died.
– Any person arranging the funeral.

What paperwork is required?

You will need to take:
– The Medical Certificate indicating cause of death.
– The deceased’s NHS medical card.
– Birth Certificate and Marriage Certificate of the deceased.

Information required by the Registrar

You will need information regarding:
– The deceased’s full name.
– The date and place of the deceased’s birth.
– The date and place of the deceased’s death.
– If registering the death of a woman you will need information about their maiden name, marital status and the full name and occupation of their husband.
– If the deceased was married you will need the date of birth of their spouse.
– Occupation details.
– Details of any pensions or other benefits.

When you have completed the registration you will be given some important paperwork:

A green certificate which needs to be given to the funeral director and gives permission for the person to be buried or cremated.

A form to send to the DWP which gives permission for them to deal with any pensions or benefits of the deceased.

A death certificate which is needed to deal with legal matters relating to money, property and your loved one’s will. It’s a good idea to ask for several copies of this certificate as you may need to send a copy to various places as proof of death. You will have to pay for each certificate you request.

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